SANTA MARIA - The historic and surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was on the minds of Catholics attending daily mass on Monday.
"He's a brilliant theologian and philosopher", says Barry Stewart after attending noon mass at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Santa Maria, "most people think they know about him but they haven't read him or listened to him, he's one of those men that's expected to do the unexpected."
"The Pope is honest", adds fellow St. Mary's parishioner Maria Wheeler, "he knows that he is not capable anymore."
"I think he did a smart thing for the good of the Church", says Fr. Charles Hofschulte, Pastor of St. Louis de Montfort Church in Orcutt.
A priest for 42 years, Fr. Charles says the Pope stepping down is an exciting time in the 2000-plus year history of the Catholic Church.
"It gives the Church an opportunity to examine its direction", Hofschulte says, "to find a man who will have the stamina, the courage, the intellect and the spirituality to lead the Church."
The stunning news from The Vatican comes on the heels of the court-ordered release of church files on child sex abuse by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the failure by then-church leaders to immediately report it to authorities.
"The two are not connected", Fr. Charles says, "the local Church has its own leader, Archbishop Jose Gomez, who's responding to the concerns of the last ten years, its unfortunate, but the Church will survive."
"I don't relate the two together", adds Barry Stewart, "this is the action of the Shepherd, to us Catholics he's the successor of Peter."
"I believe that it is time to get a new one, a strong one", adds Maria Wheeler about the new Pope, "and especially I'm praying."
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:14 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:14:07 GMT
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